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Yankees rookies dress up as popular music artists for hazing

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The New York Yankees may have lost three out of four games in a crucial series against the Boston Red Sox over the weekend, but that did not stop the team from having a little fun. Before they boarded the plane for Baltimore on Sunday night, the Yankees made their rookies dress up as popular music artists.

It was a personal spin on hazing that came out beautifully. As ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian Begley pointed out, above from left to right we have Preston Claiborne dressed as Billy Ray Cyrus, Cesar Cabral as Rick James, interpreter Jiwan Bang as Psy, Brett Marshall as Psy’s dancer buddy Yoo Jae-Seok, David Adams as Vanilla Ice and JR Murphy as Justin Bieber.

In an era where baseball rookie hazing has brought us players dressed as big-breasted cheerleaders and grown men walking around Times Square in Speedos, you have to respect the Yankees for coming up with a unique idea. Nicely done.

Alex Rodriguez tells his lawyers to stop threatening New York Yankees

Alex Rodriguez YankeesAlex Rodriguez is hoping for the best possible outcome in his appeal of a 211-game suspension for performance-enhancing drug use. He has hired an All-Star team of lawyers than includes top New York criminal defense attorney Joe Tacopina. Since Tacopina came on board, A-Rod’s situation has become about far more than his alleged involvement with Biogenesis.

Rodriguez is trying to prove that he did not interfere with Major League Baseball’s Biogenesis investigation and that he should be treated as a first-time offender, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. There have also been reports that he will sue MLB if the suspension is not dropped altogether. Tacopina has even accused the Yankees of trying to sabotage A-Rod by withholding medical records and trying to keep him from playing.

Rodriguez (supposedly) wants those reports to stop.

“I’m shutting it all down, I’m shutting it all down,” he told reporters before Wednesday night’s game, via the NY Daily News. “The focus is to be back on the field. There are so many great stories going on in baseball, and for us, we really just want to focus on playing good baseball, and 100 percent have all the questions be about baseball. If there’s any question in the future that are not about baseball, the interview will end at that moment.”

A-Rod is a distraction. The Yankees are 9-5 in games he has played since he returned, but his teammates and coaches would obviously prefer to be able to focus on baseball rather than deal with the drama of Rodriguez being intentionally beaned by opponents.

“I think it’s the best thing to do for all of us, to focus on the game,” he said. “We’re in the middle of a pennant race. I want to put all the focus back on baseball. … I think the most important thing for us now out of respect to my team, and my manager and my coaches, we’re in the middle of a very important pennant race. We’re playing pretty well right now and we want to keep the focus on the field.”

How convenient. Tacopina would not have gone public with any accusations against MLB or the Yankees if A-Rod didn’t authorize it. Now that most of the dirty laundry has been aired out, Rodriguez is trying to look like the peacemaker who is committed to helping his team win. It’s a bit too late for that.

Buck Showalter angry Alex Rodriguez suspension could let Yankees off the hook

Buck-Showalter-Rips-Theo-EpsteinThe New York Yankees may be the biggest winners when Major League Baseball inevitably announces that it has suspended Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod, who has two bad hips and a quad that may or may not be lame, is currently playing under one of the worst contracts in all of sports. The Yankees still owe him $86 million and have nothing to show for it, but Rodriguez’s involvement in Biogenesis could absolve them of some of that burden.

Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter thinks that is bogus.

“If Bud (Selig) lets them get away with that, they’re under the luxury tax,” Showalter told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “If they can reset, they can spend again and I guarantee you in two years Matt Wieters is in New York.

“They’re the ones who signed him to that contract.”

Showalter simply said what a lot of people were already thinking. If A-Rod continues to push back against MLB and they somehow manage to ban him from baseball for life, the Yankees are completely off the hook. If he agrees to a suspension settlement (which appears more likely at the moment), he could be out for the rest of 2013 and all of 2014. Either situation would greatly benefit the Yankees.

A-Rod is owed $25 million next season, and New York has made it known they would love to get under the $189 million luxury tax mark. It would be much easier to get under that number if A-Rod is suspended for all or even a large portion of next season, because the Yankees would not be required to pay him. That would make it easier to re-sign Robinson Cano and go after other free agents like — as Showalter mentioned — Orioles catcher Matt Wieters.

The problem is there is likely nothing MLB can do about it. The Yankees will not have to pay A-Rod during his suspension just as the Milwaukee Brewers don’t have to pay Braun. New York knew the risks involved with signing Rodriguez to a 10-year, $275 million contract, especially considering he admitted to using steroids with the Texas Rangers roughly a decade ago. And now, because Rodriguez has opted to continue living the life of a fraud, the Yankees could end up huge scoring big time.

Alex Rodriguez on if he trusts Yankees: ‘I’d rather not get into that’

Joel-Sherman-Wants-Us-to-Leave-Alex-Rodriguez-AloneThe situation between Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees is not getting any more civil, despite the fact that it seems like both sides are speaking publicly and releasing new statements every few hours. The best situation for both parties would probably be to keep quiet and wait for A-Rod to return, but instead it seems like everyone wants to have the last word.

On Thursday afternoon — after Yankees GM Brian Cashman and A-Rod both released statements regarding his decision to seek a second opinion on his (allegedly) injured quad — Rodriguez appeared on WFAN and shed a bit more light onto the controversy. Mike Francesa asked him about getting a second opinion from Dr. Michael Gross.

“You know, I’ve never met him,” Rodriguez explained, via Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News. “We wanted to get a second opinion as soon as possible to get on the field on Friday. I liked what I heard from him and we went with that. I don’t know anything about MRIs and I don’t know anything about doctors. I know that I feel good, I have no pain and I wish I was playing. Five or six days will be here soon enough and hopefully I’m out there helping my team win.”

[Related: A-Rod declared '100% healthy' by his personal doctor]

The most telling part of the interview came when A-Rod was asked if he trusts the Yankees. He could have simply said his relationship with the team is fine to put a stop to all the speculation, but he chose not to.

“I’d rather not get into that,” he replied. “I’m just frustrated that I’m not on the field tomorrow. I’ll leave it at that. My frustration is obvious, but I’m going to put my head down here and get back to New York as soon as I can.”

Clearly, Rodriguez and the Yankees disagree about his recovery. It’s hard to say exactly why that is the case, but it is. Perhaps he’ll return and spark a Yankees lineup that has been lacking. Or, maybe he’ll come back just in time to be handed a fat suspension for his alleged involvement with Biogenesis. Time will tell — we think.

Could Alex Rodriguez face suspension for seeking second opinion? (UPDATED)

Alex-Rodriguez-YankeesMajor League Baseball and the New York Yankees may have to get together and coordinate a time when they can each suspend Alex Rodriguez. As you have likely heard, the A-Rod injury saga has gotten more out of control than the former slugger’s alleged involvement with Tony Bosch’s Biogenesis clinic.

Believe it or not, if A-Rod winds up being suspended for his involvement with Biogenesis, it may not be the first penalty he faces. According to Newsday’s Steven Marcus, the Yankees are planning to discipline Rodriguez for seeking a second opinion on his quad MRI without getting permission first.

“There will be some discipline, [the Yankees] haven’t decided what yet,” a source reportedly told Marcus.

Yankees team doctor Christopher Ahmad diagnosed A-Rod with a Grade 1 quad strain on Sunday, and the slugger took the MRI results to his personal doctor, Dr. Michael Gross of Hackensack Medical Center, for a second opinion. As GM Brian Cashman pointed out on Thursday, Rodriguez violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement by informing the team that he was having another doctor examine the results after he had already gone ahead and done so.

“[A-Rod] said he felt great, he wanted to play,” Newsday’s source said. “He did trust Chris Ahmad and that he’s seen another doctor. He didn’t say who. He was told he could do whatever he wants, as long as he follows the procedures. On Wednesday morning, he was called [by the Yankees] at the training facility [in Tampa], he refused to take the call.”

Most people expect A-Rod to be suspended for his involvement in Biogenesis, with some speculating that he could facing a lifetime ban. A possible suspension from the team for seeking a second opinion is a new wrinkle in what has become a never-ending soap opera. If this were happening to any other player, we might be a tiny bit surprised.

UPDATE: According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Yankees will fine A-Rod an undisclosed amount.

Alex Rodriguez reportedly seeks second opinion on injury, doesn’t tell Yankees

Alex Rodriguez YankeesAlex Rodriguez is believed to have recovered from the hip injury that has haunted him for over a year. Now, it is a quad injury that has been ailing him. On Sunday, Rodriguez went for an MRI and the New York Yankees announced that he is expected to miss another 7-10 days with a Grade 1 quad strain. Naturally, there is more to the story than that.

According to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, A-Rod is seeking a second opinion on his injury — one from the doctor (Dr. Bryan Kelly) who performed his hip surgery last winter. The interesting part is that Sherman reported that he asked Yankees GM Brian Cashman if A-Rod is seeking a second opinion, and Cashman assured him that he is not. However, a source reportedly insists that Rodriguez is indeed going back to see Kelly, he just doesn’t feel the Yankees need to know about it since Kelly is not employed by the team.

If Sherman’s source is correct, there’s obviously something about the Yankees’ MRI that isn’t good enough for Rodriguez. Is he simply seeking a second opinion from a friend, or are we back to the theory about A-Rod trying to rush back to collect money before he’s suspended and the Yankees trying to slow his return?

In any event, the drama continues. Between A-Rod’s injuries and the supposedly massive suspension that could be looming, his situation gets more complicated by the day. There is also speculation that he could be revisiting his hip surgeon in an attempt to create the case that his hip is unfit for play, which would allow him to retire and collect the rest of the $114 million he is owed. That situation would also work for the Yankees because insurance would pay 80% of the contract, but it seems unlikely at this point.

Lost in what has become a soap opera is the fact that the Yankees are still in contention. A-Rod has hit two homers during his rehab stint in the minors, so he obviously still has some pop. With Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira all injured, New York could use Rodriguez’s bat in 2013. Maybe they’ll get it back in a week after A-Rod’s personal doctor confirms what the team has already told him. Or, maybe the never-ending story will continue to haunt Yankees fans.

Yankees talked about trading Mariano Rivera in 1996

Mariano RiveraMariano Rivera is a lifelong New York Yankee. He was signed by the team out of Panama, spent six seasons in the team’s minor league system, and made it up to the majors where he pitched 67 innings in 1995. At the time, Rivera was a starting pitcher who was just being converted into a reliever.

When the 26-year-old showed up for spring training in 1996, the team had a number of similar pitchers, so they discussed trading Rivera, former Yankees manager Joe Torre recalls.

“At spring training, there was some conversation about trading him, only because we had an abundance of those types of pitchers,” Torre said this week at a golf outing at Sleepy Hollow Country Club to support the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, via the New York Post. “I didn’t really know where he’d fit. We didn’t think closer because we had other people, but we thought he could contribute. … We really weren’t sure. Obviously, that was the best trade that the Yankees never made.”

The Yankees actually had John Wetteland closing in 1996, and he led the league with 43 saves and made the All-Star Game. After Wetteland signed with the Texas Rangers as a free agent, Rivera took over as closer and immediately began putting together his dominant, Hall of Fame career.

I can’t even imagine how much different baseball history would have been had they dealt Rivera. Like Torre says, that was the best trade never made.